Flight Boot Development - 1933-1934[?]
Fleece-Lined Flight Overboots
At some undetermined point during 1933-1934 special flight footwear was developed for DLV personnel. The boots thus introduced were not conventional flight boots per se, being of an overshoe or overboot configuration and design. No surviving order authorizes these overboots.
Although the new footwear resembled the later flight boots in a general way, the overboots were designed to be worn over the civilian/military footwear of the day. Naturally therefore, even the smaller sizes appear to be of a much larger size than they actually are. Constructed of black leather, the overboots mounted a single zipper vertically on the inside of the leg. Cinch straps, closed by nickel-plated tongue buckles, were mounted at the ankle and at the top of the shaft, with the ankle strap in place to prevent loss of the boots during bail-outs, and the top strap to help seal out drafts at the top of the shaft.
A solitary piece of photographic evidence (see Carlsen & Meyer in Sources below) shows the overboots in use as early as January 1935, a month prior to the institution of the Luftwaffe. It is unlikely that these overboots were at all popular with the men, as their ponderous and ungainly bulk hampered movement in the cockpit considerably. It is likely that many flying personnel simply elected to continue taking to the air in their regular footwear, frigid conditions aloft notwithstanding.
Officially, overboot production continued until June 1939, although the latest specimens known to the author are dated 1937.
Carlsen, Sven & Meyer Michael, Die Flugzeugführer-Ausbildung der Deutschen Luftwaffe 1939-1945, (Zweibrücken, Germany: Heinz Nickel Verlag/Antiquariat, 1998), I, 60. Note: the Forum is in contact with this publisher to secure the right to reproduce this photograph here.
Prodger, Mick J., Luftwaffe vs. RAF: Flying Clothing of the Air War, 1939-45, (Altglen, Pa.: Schiffer Military History, 1997), II, 150 (upper left).
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